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Tuesday, 10 August 2004

another code word

war on terror

Bush said, "We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world." Look, he's telling us what he means. We're struggling against people "who happen to use terror as a weapon." Sounds like the key point in the "war on terror" isn't "terror" after all. They just "happen to use terror as a weapon." So our war is really with "ideological extremists." But not just any "ideological extremists." We're friends with Christian fundamentalists and the vatican and lots of other kind of extreme ideologies. We specifically at war with "ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies." Ok, so what is a "free society?" That itself is a code word. Remember the cold war? East against west? The free world against communism? The free world is made up of free societies. If they're in binary opposition to communism, free societies must be capitalist. captialism = freedom. "Free world" and "free societies" mean capitalism. Both those phrases are used. We're stuggling against ideological extremists who do not beleive in capitalism and who happen to use terror as a weapon to shake the conscience of captialist countries. Oh no! Communists! But how do we define communism? The state department says you're a communist if you put the needs of people before the needs of multinational trade. Maybe they're ideological extremists who don't want to be neo-colonies of the west. They're opposed to our foreign policy that sees them as just part of our supply lines. We might feel bad about that from time to time. It could sake out conscience. We're at war with ideological extremists who don't believe in neocolonialism . . . [and] try to shake the consience of capitalist countries. These guys sound less perpplexingly evil all the time. It sounds like they might have legitimate greviences that could be addressed, so that they wouldn't have to use terror as a weapon. Maybe there's some solution aside from killing all of them. Afterall, if use violence as a first resort, aren't we sources of terror?

No, because of what that definition doesn't say. Using terror to shake the conscience of non-capitalist or non-colonialist states is a-ok. As long as you beleive in "free societies." Nuclear weapons are ok as long as we've got them. Using terror as a weapon is ok as long as we're doing it. Terrorism is defined as attacking non-military targets with the intent to changing the mind of a people. Or really any attack designed to change the minds of non-compatants. Like "shock and awe" was designed to um, shock and awe the folks in Iraq so they wouldn't want war and maybe would just throw Hussein out for us. The CIA has blown up many non-military targets while trying to assasinate somebody or trying to change people's minds. The contras attacked clinics under our bidding, trying to change the outcome of an election. But we're not at war with our own terror. It's in the service of neo-colonialism.

I'm not just being silly. What Bush said is a straight-up admission that some terror is ok and some is not and really depends on who is doing it and what their movitves are. Fighting our foreign policy of corporate dominance is specifically not ok, and that's what we're at war with. People think Bush is stupid, but the depth of information that he's providing here suggests that he's not, he's just akward. You can't be that dumb if your dad was head of the CIA


Justin said...

Granted, the president is hypocritical. At the Unity Conference last week, he said that Native American reservations had be "given sovereignty," which is quite contradictory. Since if it can be given, it can also be take away. That’s not so sovereign.

So don't take this as a defense of him as much as a criticism of your description of terrorism: “attacking non-military targets….” Not only must non-military targets be attacked (or threatened to), but also it must be done deliberately. Now you’re right that America has committed terrorism more than most people will admit, and your description was no big mistake.

What got me was when you implied that if you put the needs of people before multinational trade, then you’re a communist, according to the State Department. Nice dodge.

My question is, what is it do you believe a corporations has in mind when it is conducting multinational trade if not “the needs of the people?” They’ve got to think they want somebody to buying what they’ve got to sell.

Les said...

I'm refering to state department definitions that were used primarily in south america but also in other third world countries. we've supported a lot of thugs in south america because they were "anti-communist." Just like Hussein actually, who killed a bunch of communists when he came to power. We gave him lists.

Multinational trade can be problematic for people in the third world. For instance, we might want cheap raw materials. If the leaders of the country are trying to get a fair price or are trying to protect unions, they're communist. If they want to grow crops for local consumption instead of for export, they're communist. if they want to nationalize industries or keep nationalized industries, they're communists. The World Bank likes to make countries privatize their water. An American company ended up owning all the water in Bolivia. They owned the well water, they owned the rain water. The American company didn't care if water bills were coming out to half of people's incomes. They used the insitutions of the state to collect money owed them. When you're sending police forces to opress peasents to get money for the rain water they collected, THEN you're not a communist. Otherwise, you are.

Obviously, this term is broadly misused. If you're going to fault somebody for saying that poor people ought to be able to collect rain water and drink it without paying a fee to a multinational, then you better have a very ideologically-loaded term to hurl at her.

Justin said...

So I think you’re saying the problem is that multinationals collude with the government when they can’t get their way internationally.

Then I’d say that the problem isn’t trade so much as it is the partnership with the U.S. government to intervene abroad. I’m no fan communism, but I’m less of a fan of unseating the heads of countries that have different politics than we do.

But if you think nationalizing resources and the means of production are in the best interest of the masses, then we’ll be a little farther apart on that one.

BTW, I played a mean recorder in 4th grade, if that counts.

Crinis said...

Actually, in Bolivia, the cost of a monthy water bill in most rural areas EXCEEDED the annual income of the household it was delivered to. That's why Bolivia repatriated its water. It literally couldn't afford not to.

Timanna said...

hey clst, this is off-topic. I won't be around this weekend, but I want to see you before you head back to school. Maybe you and Cola and I can get something to eat tonight or thursday? let me know.